Who Can Believe Malaysia Now?


It seems as though they are looking after their own interests, maybe even covering their own butts, rather than working as a team.

Kee Thuan Chye

The plot thickens, but this is no murder mystery for some novel or TV show. This is real life, and it concerns the lives of 239 people on board Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 that went missing about an hour after it took off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) on March 8 bound for Beijing.

Malaysia has already come under heavy international fire for its inept handling of the crisis so far, but now it’s going to face more flak for a couple of new untoward developments.

On March 10, the director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, announced that five people checked into the flight but did not board it, and so their baggage was offloaded from the plane before it took off.

He was quite precise. He said: “Every piece of baggage was recorded and given a unique serial number so that the correct baggage was removed from the aircraft.” He also said the baggage was “clean”.

What exactly does “clean” mean? That the DCA opened the bags and examined them and found they did not contain anything harmful or incriminating? So it must have happened, right? Azharuddin couldn’t have fabricated it, right?

Whatever it is, we all got the impression that five people checked in but did not board. Fine.

But then on March 11, the Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar dropped a bombshell when he said this wasn’t true. “There was no five passengers who checked in and did not board. Everybody who booked this flight boarded,” he said.


He sounded cocksure about it too. “There is no such thing as five persons who did not board the plane. There is no such thing,” he said. “You take it from me, there was no such thing. Nobody booked the ticket that did not board.”

The DCA D-G says one thing and the IGP says the complete opposite? And they both work for the same government?

Who is telling the truth? Whom we do we believe?

Well, the IGP has been known to make laughable statements in the past before. Remember when the Auditor-General reported last year that the police had lost 44 guns over three years, and the IGP came out and said that the guns could have fallen into the sea? Hmmm … if he had said the cops themselves had fallen in, that might have been more believable eh?

Actually, I found the DCA D-G’s statement fishy, too. Five people not boarding a flight after checking in seems a pretty high number. I checked it with a friend who used to be a flight attendant and she agreed it was odd.

More crucial, why didn’t the DCA round up those five afterwards and ask them why, in view of the extraordinary circumstances, they did not board the plane?

Well, just when we thought that the contradiction between the IGP and the DCA D-G was enough to make Malaysia look really bad, something else came up.

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